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“Agency in a socially networked world: library clients increase their room to move”


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Bridging Worlds Conference 2008, Singapore
Day One Track Two
Speaker 4

Published in: Education, Technology
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“Agency in a socially networked world: library clients increase their room to move”

  1. 1. Agency: library clients in online social spaces Bridging Worlds Conference, Singapore, October 2008 Bonna Jones Senior Lecturer, RMIT University
  2. 2. Online social spaces <ul><li>‘ rich user experiences’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ architecture of participation’ </li></ul>
  3. 3. new online social spaces <ul><li>our understanding of these could grow out of earlier research on social spaces and how they operate: </li></ul><ul><li>Making Narratives </li></ul><ul><li>Making Social Spaces </li></ul><ul><li>Making identities </li></ul>
  4. 4. My interest <ul><li>as a practising librarian in a university I developed an interest in some ideas that were being researched by our clients </li></ul>
  5. 5. Philosophy of complexity <ul><li>Emergence of a science of complexity </li></ul><ul><li>Transdisciplinary, but also accounts for the achievements of the humanities </li></ul><ul><li>‘ being’ and ‘becoming’ </li></ul>
  6. 6. Arran Gare <ul><li>Gare “ Nature regarded as mere product is for us an object; but as productivity, it is for us subject ” (2000, p. 336) </li></ul><ul><li>Gare “ a conception of the world in which humans, understood as conscious and self-conscious, free, creative and essentially social agents able to struggle to understand the world and themselves, could be seen to have evolved from nature” (2004, p. 2) </li></ul>
  7. 7. actions <ul><li>strings of actions </li></ul><ul><li>networks of action </li></ul><ul><li>processes </li></ul><ul><li>hierarchies of action </li></ul><ul><li>systems of action </li></ul>
  8. 8. Making Narratives <ul><li>“ the boat came in with the morning catch of fish” </li></ul><ul><li>“ the cats sat on the sea wall” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Narrative as an action <ul><li>Prestory (Prefiguration) </li></ul><ul><li>Story (Configuration) </li></ul><ul><li>Restory (Refiguration) </li></ul><ul><li>This is a spiral that loops back on itself and meaning is an achievement of its process. Transfiguration? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Product <ul><li>Narrative </li></ul><ul><li>Qualities of narrative (from ephemera right through to grand narratives; always in time) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Events <ul><li>Carr (1986) </li></ul><ul><li>Events are already in a form that can be described as ‘narrative’ </li></ul><ul><li>Action takes place in time and has both temporal and practical order </li></ul><ul><li>Order understood as: </li></ul><ul><li>Closure (beginnning, middle and end) </li></ul><ul><li>Departure and arrival, or departure and return </li></ul><ul><li>Means and end </li></ul><ul><li>Suspension and resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Problem and solution </li></ul>
  12. 12. Creativity <ul><li>Defined as a process: </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative operates as an action of synthesis or a ‘grasping together’ of the heterogeneous within language. </li></ul><ul><li>With narrative, the semantic innovation lies in the inventing of another work of synthesis - a plot. By means of the plot, goals, causes, and chance are brought together within the temporal unity of a whole and complete action. (Ricoeur 1984 , p. ix) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Hierarchy of action <ul><li>Symbol -> Word </li></ul><ul><li>Activity is interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>Sentence -> Narrative </li></ul><ul><li> Activity is emplotment </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative -> Library </li></ul><ul><li> Activity is collecting </li></ul>
  14. 14. Cats and Fishermen
  15. 16. Making social space <ul><li>social space – an invisible reality that cannot be shown, but nevertheless organises our actions </li></ul><ul><li>the economy of symbolic transactions </li></ul><ul><li>acquiring capital (social, cultural, economic, and symbolic) </li></ul><ul><li>time (ongoing in time - sustained by a central argument; tradition) </li></ul>
  16. 17. Levels of action <ul><li>word/sentence/narrative/genre/library </li></ul><ul><li>meaning is created in a story “I am….” </li></ul><ul><li>person/collective/field </li></ul><ul><li>social space is created “I belong….” </li></ul>
  17. 18. Product <ul><li>Narrative (from ephemera right through to grand narratives) </li></ul><ul><li>Social space (‘my life’, ‘our group’, ‘our organisation’) </li></ul><ul><li>always occurs within time </li></ul>
  18. 19. Online social space <ul><li>Social space </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative-making space </li></ul>
  19. 20. Evolution of social spaces <ul><li>evening campfire - a vital social space in prehistory </li></ul><ul><li>the town square or marketplace </li></ul><ul><li>the public library </li></ul>
  20. 21. Power <ul><li>Freedom, creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Non-nested hierarchies </li></ul><ul><li>Level of observation </li></ul>
  21. 22. <ul><li>Levels in the hierarchy of action constrain lower levels, more or less </li></ul><ul><li>Lower levels may be able to ‘act back’ </li></ul><ul><li>Nested hierarchies that wholly constrain vs those with some freedom for action </li></ul>
  22. 23. <ul><li>‘ rich user experiences’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ architecture of participation’ </li></ul>
  23. 24. <ul><li>When we talk about ‘rich user experiences’ and an ‘architecture of participation’, these ideas about narrative, social space, identity and constraint are helpful I think. They give us a basis for thinking about the kinds of new social spaces we are now creating and how these will be an extension of what we already do in libraries. Indeed, I also think that librarians are beautifully placed to understand these dynamics, where other professions are not. </li></ul>
  24. 25. <ul><li>“ With each new integrative level, societies have become more differentiated and hierarchically organized, generating mutually amplifying co-evolutionary systems within these societies. Co-evolution has generated further specialist structures mostly associated with the regulation of society and the means for this regulation” (Gare, 2002 p 9) </li></ul>
  25. 26. Onine social spaces <ul><li>As products are more interactive </li></ul><ul><li>Verbal and graphic </li></ul><ul><li>Still and moving </li></ul><ul><li>Games </li></ul><ul><li>Platforms such as VastPark </li></ul>